Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education
Gareth Byrne

Linking School and Parish

As part of Clogher Diocese in Dialogue process, the Director of MDCCE, Dr Gareth Byrne, was invited to present on 10 March 2021 to participants on the theme, ‘Reimaging the Links between Schools and Parish’. 

The event was presented through Zoom, and broadcast also on the diocesan Facebook page. Dr Byrne pointed out key principles about parish and schools set out in Share the Good News: National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland, the foundational document of the Irish Catholic Church on education, religious education, and faith development. He also introduced those who joined in, from both the Republic of Ireland and from Northern Ireland, to research published in an edited volume, Religion and Education: The Voices of Young People in Ireland, which provides invaluable reflections from young people across the border, North and South, and across Christian denominations. He took the example of the new specification for Junior Cycle Religious Education in schools in the Republic as an example of the changes that are taking place in school life, in religious education in schools and in how schools and parish can engage in new ways for the good of the students, of their school and of their local faith communities. A parish community, by opening itself up to what is happening in schools to support young people in searching for meaning and thinking about their faith, might better position itself, he indicated, to engage in ongoing education in faith activities for adults and young people in the parish.

Since the event, at the time of writing this posting, over 1,000 people have logged on to the talk on the website of Clogher Diocese and taken home for themselves interesting ideas about the foundations today for conversation among adults in parishes, with their young people and with local schools. Dr Byrne suggested this was only the beginning of a process that any diocese and its parishes might begin now with a view to strengthening links with schools, Catholic schools and any schools which young Catholics attend.

Find the series here: